People report that their main reason to use internet and to spend time on the social networking sites is to keep in touch with their old friends and to strengthen virtual ties with their friends, relatives and colleagues. By using SNSs, individuals try to increase and maintain their online social networks 19. Investment in social networks enables the individuals to increase and develop standards of trust, which are essential for successful participation in collective activities. In short, trust assists working with other individuals on common issues 17.
Different researches established that online communications positively help the individuals’ in building social trust and motivating them for participation in community life 20. According to Shah, and Holbert the scholarly clash between cyber pessimists and optimists still continues, although it is obvious that the positive and negative impacts of the Internet on social capital are subjected to the intellectuals conceptualization of the medium and the way people use this medium 10. According to Williams, ”time displacement hypothesis” pays no attention towards the differences between traditional mass media and new interactive media. People do not communicate with each other while watching TV. Whereas, while sending or receiving e-mail, during chatting and using SNSs, people are engaged in interpersonal communication. Researchers associate the Internet usage as time spent with the technology while ignoring the diversified audiences, intentions and experiences that this medium allows. They tend to find the negative impacts on the production of social capital at individual level. Whereas, some researchers understanding the various uses of the Internet tend to find a positive relation behind the intentions for Internet use and social capital. Generally it is assumed that new media usage patterns related to the community building and information acquisition play a positive role at individual-level production of social capital. Whereas new media usage patterns in case of entertainment affect the production of social capital in a negative manner. In fact technology does not affect one’s social capital, rather the different ways of using the technology affect one’s social capital. That’s why researcher’s claim that online activities can reduce and increase social capital. According to Resnick, when we are spending time on the Internet that we will otherwise use to engage in face-to-face communication, social capital will lessen. Expanding this justification to SNSs, we can say that their impact on social capital is subjected to the uses and gratifications required by users. On the basis of Putnam’s 17 concepts of weak-tie social capital versus strong-tie social capital, Williams illustrated that the type of relationships within social networks can build diverse types of social capital. In another study The Mobile-izing Japanese: Connecting to the Internet by PC and Webphone in Yamanashiiyata, Boase, Wellman and Ikeda 21 examined the social characteristics and the social relationships of the users of Internet-connected by web phones and personal computers. According to the data collected on the quantity of email exchanged and the extent of those exchanges, they concluded that web phones, like other mobile phones, are especially important for maintaining strong ties that is, close friends and family 22-25.